The government has urged parents in Singapore to reduce study time for their children and take them outdoors to play, as more and more Singaporean children develop myopia. A highly competitive education system has forced parents to enroll their children in extra classes.
CCTV’s Miro Lu filed this report from Singapore.
Singapore PM calls for playtime despite pressure for supplemental learningThe government has urged parents in Singapore to reduce study time for their children and take them outdoors to play, as more and more Singaporean children develop myopia. A highly competitive education system has forced parents to enroll their children in extra classes. CCTV's Miro Lu filed this report from Singapore.
Learning math on Sunday afternoons may not be too fun, but it’s part of the routine for many Singaporean children. Supplemental learning might be seen as extra help for struggling students in other parts of the world, but it is viewed as a necessity in Singapore. This supplemental learning center even offers classes for parents so they can be better equipped to help their children at home.
Singapore’s competitive education system is partly responsible for the supplemental learning boom. The number of supplemental learning and enrichment centers registered with the Ministry of Education has jumped from 700 in 2012 to 800 in 2014. The government statistics show that Singapore families spent $1.1 billion on after-school learning in one year.
Yet while the tuition culture has grown, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong shared a different view on parenting. The prime minister recently called on parents to take their children outdoors and play, saying sunlight exposure can reduce the risk of child myopia.
Singapore has one of the highest prevalence of myopia in the world, especially among the young. More than half of Singaporean children develop myopia by the age of 12. To deal with this growing problem, the government has launched a national myopia prevention program.
“The National Myopia Prevention Program has two approach. Firstly, public awareness to promote good eye-care habits, such as encouraging children to go out and play and taking a break after 30 to 40 minutes of near work,” Dr. K. Vijaya, Director of the Youth Preventive Services Division for the Health Promotions Board. “The second approach is regular vision screening, which focus on early detection, management and monitoring of myopia children.”
The biggest factor in short-sightedness is a lack of time spent outdoors. In Singapore, a combination of not being outdoors and doing lots of work focusing up close worsens the problem.
Deani Van Pelt of the Fraser Institute discusses the economics behind education
CCTV America interviewed Deani Van Pelt for more on how money and education work together. Van Pelt is the Director of the Barbara Mitchell Center for Improvement in Education at the Fraser Institute.